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September 21, 2005

Dell Bundles Cingular EDGE, Later HSDPA

By Glenn Fleishman

Dell’s partnership with Verizon Wireless must not have been exclusive: The computermaker announced earlier this week that some high-end laptops next year would have the option of an internal Verizon Wireless EVDO card, reducing cost, integration, and support. Today, the company says they will also build in Cingular’s upcoming HSPDA (High-Speed Packet Download Access) next year, which will offer somewhat faster download speeds than EVDO and enormously higher upload speeds.

EVDO offers a consistent 50 to 100 Kbps upstream and 200 to 400 Kbps downstream with higher downstream peak rates of 1 Mbps or more. HSDPA should provide 400 to 700 Kbps average speeds on the downstream side with peak rates of 2 Mbps; upstream should be in the 100 to 200 Kbps range, although exact numbers aren’t being provided.

Until HSDPA is available, Dell is offering Cingular’s GC83 EDGE PC Card for $199 with a $150 rebate from Cingular once a service plan is added. Cingular will offer unlimited EDGE for $59.99 per month to Cingular voice customers.

Integrating a cellular data card into a laptop shifts the software driver, update, and support costs to the laptop maker, which hopes it can garner a premium for the package and will almost certainly derive ongoing revenue from customers that sign up for Verizon or Cingular’s data packages. It’s a win for customers, too, in that an integrated card should work better (better antenna design, less fuss in getting it to work) and the actual add-on cost should be lower because of the form factor and integration.

The bloom has fallen off Dell’s rose recently in customer support, however, where it used to score just below Apple Computer in independent consumer tests. Dell is still No. 2, but much further below Apple. The company also recently shut down its user forums which allowed other customers to provide tech support or users to self-help through archives.

Posted by Glennf at September 21, 2005 4:15 PM

Categories: EVDO, HSDPA

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